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Chapter 3

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Anna Nagy

Psychology and the Law 4/15/2012 Chapter 3 – Theories of Crime: Learning and Environmental. Why people become involved in Criminal activity? A. Psychodynamic: Humans are thought to be inherently antisocial, driven by pleasure seeking and destructive impulses. o According to this perspective crime occurs when these impulses are not controlled.  This is usually a result of forces failing regulate these impulses. Example of psychoanalyst explanation: Having examined hundred of people who have killed… I have found that homicide usually does not originate because of a clearly defined impulse to kill, but is released by the intensity of internal conflicts. When as children we feel hurt by people’s rejection or criticism we either give vent to it or push away from our mind our real resentment until we “forget” about them. They become unconscious. When we continue to repress and it becomes a pattern of behavior, without finding any outward expression or release, these hateful emotions accumulate within us. If we are unable to curb these hostile feelings, our ego-protecting defenses crumble and murderous acting-out impulses emerge. Definitions: Id: - where pleasure-seeking and destructive impulses originate - Part of an individual’s personality that is present at birth and represents unconscious primitive and instinctual desires. - Is governed by the pleasure principle Pleasure principle: - Seeks immediate pleasure with little consideration of the undesirable consequences that may result in an impulse is acted upon o This is controlled for in one of two ways: 1) Psychoanalysts believe that the activity of the id is opposed by the next personality structure to develop, the ego: Ego: - Which attempts to mediate between one’s primal needs and society’s demands - The ego is directed by the: Reality principle: - Its development coincides with the mergence of reality-oriented thinking and it allows the id to function in socially acceptable ways by suppressing the id’s impulses until appropriate situations arise. 2) Second, in challenging id drives, the ego is guided by the: Superego: - The last of the three personality systems to develop according to psychoanalystsPsychology and the Law 4/15/2012 - Represents the internalization of group standards, typically conveyed to the child through parental care and discipline. - It acts as a moral regulator - Thought to consist of two subsystems : a. Conscience: allows an individual to distinguish between right and wrong and forces the ego to inhibit id pursuits that are out of line with one’s morals and b. The ego-ideal which represents the socially accepted standards to which we all aspire. Table 3.1 – Freud’s Psychosexual Stages of Development Stage Description Oral - Begins at birth and end around age 1- 1.5. - Child is preoccupied with seeking gratification though sucking and feeding. Anal - Begins around age 1 ( with the introduction of toilet training) to age two or three - Primary conflict: one of control, as the child has to learn to delay the pleasure associated with bodily expulsion. Phallic - Begins around age two or three and lasts until age five to six. - Primary conflict: sexual. - At this stage, the child becomes interested in their genitals and begins to develop an unconscious desire for the opposite sex parent and fear of retribution from the same –sex parent. This conflict is called Oedipus complex in boys In girls it is called : Electra complex Latent - Begins around five to six and lasts until puberty. - A time where the sexual drive becomes de-emphasized and repressed sexual energy gets redirected to asexual pursuits such as same-sex friendships. Genital - Begins in adolescence and lasts until adulthood. - Interest in the genitals is reborn and the individual focuses on a search for intimacy with an opposite-sex adult partner. Sources of criminal behavior – relating to inadequate superego formation: 1. The individual who commits crime as a result of harsh superego is referred to as a neurotic criminal.Psychology and the Law 4/15/2012 - This is assumed to lead to pathological levels of unconscious guilt that can be resolved by receiving punishment. 2. Individuals who commit crime because of a weak superego are commonly associated with the psychopathic personality. 3. Criminal commits crime as a result of a deviant superego. For these individuals, superego standards have developed but those standards are thought to reflect deviant identification. - This could occur, for example when CRIMINAL parents have a good relationship with their son, and the son grows up to mirror the criminality of his parents. o In this case, the child’s delinquent behavior reflects an absence of guilt but not the absence of abnormal psychic structures. *****Possessing a superego that fails to sufficiently regulate the primitive and instinctual needs of the id, this type of individual is typically “egocentric, impulsive, guiltless and unempathic”. Psychodynamic theories of crime: A. Bowlby’s Theory of Maternal Deprivation: - Bowlby’s view was that young children require consistent and continuous maternal care in order for them to develop normally. - According to Bowlby, disruption to the mother-child relationship will have many harmful and potentially irreversible long-term effects especially in relation to the child’s ability to establish meaningful prosocial relationships. o Lacking such abilities the child will not develop the means to control his conduct and will be more likely to exhibit antisocial patterns of behavior. B. Hirschi’s Control theories: - Took on the approach of why more people don’t violate the law than those who do? o According to his original social control theory (social bond theory) the reason for this is because of social controls or the bond of the individual to society. - He presented four interrelated types of social bonds that are collectively thought to promote socialization and conformity: a. Attachment – refers to attachment and interest in others, most importantly parents, friends and teachers. ** One does not commit crime, Hirschi suggests, because he/she does not wish to jeopardize these valuable relationships. b. Commitment – refers to the time, energy and ef
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